Sunday, June 30, 2019

A reader writes: "God sent me there," although the rest isn't quite as clear.

Gradually over time discussions engendered by NAC blog posts have shifted to social media. These days not many comments are appended to original posts, but occasionally one appears -- and every now and then it's so thought-provoking that it simply must be repeated in this space.

Like this one. It's a comment made only yesterday to a blog post from August 18, 2018: "Rev. Bernice Hicks, founder of Christ Gospel Church, dies."


God sent me there after being on the road with skynyrd first tase of jesus i really got was with a man Randy cutlip came to our school i was in 7 grade he was in three dog knight band didn't listen much but learned how god set him free no church no preacher he whent to voodoo lady she told him to say theses words light 3 candles and a dead musian would fill his soul he lit the candles black cloud appears then a bright light comes into the room he blew out the candles and reached for the light of jesus thank god he did jesus and him saved my life. The next year i was in 8 grade. I came home there was randy cutlips van world wide bread casting company. All man school told him i was bad selling pot at school. So i went smoked a joint out side my room then went in pulled my dad into the kictchen dad what this guy doing here well son we are host family for him to stay here while he goes through the schools and churches kool i start to go my room he walks behind me he is staying in my room i turn around he i know the basses in that band lynyrd skynyrd really i said he said if you would like come this summer help set up tape record t shirt sales you can meet him ok i said he came and got me that summer we went church camp first as we get out of van some kids up to him brother Randy this girl is laying down with the boys putting spells on them then this boy comes up tells his story that somthing came over him and he wanted it gone they got more people to pray with him he falls to the ground starts sweating gallons of water comes out deamens start to appears in demond voices you cant make me leave he had 16 demons castesed out of him wow did i start to pray read my bible i was listening to every word brother Randy had to say. I wanted what he had a true relationship with christ not a church not preacher jesus and him a lone going to finish the book me and started to do my ministery is called beat the streets ministry i dont have big fancy church with coffee shop or day care i am in street with the sinners the drunks the lady of the knight the vetrans most important of all the children of all black white yellow brown we all have jesus blood pray for some one every day you can see the hurt the sadness on there faces by them lunch pray with with them it cost nothing. If a man or woman can see a problem decern that problem. We are obligated to become part of the solution. That is the price of freedom to me god bless i do give testimony in churches god bless.


I've no idea what to add. J, is that you?

Deep reading, premises readied for questioning: "Money must become our servant, rather than our master."

Gahan's okay with money as we know it. 

Just about the first lesson any philosophy student learns is to question all the premises. Do the things one takes for granted survive scrutiny? I became a philosophy student at IU Southeast in the fall of 1978, it got real very quickly: Do grades mean what we think they do?

We gathered at a classroom in Hillside Hall, and Prof. McCarthy greeted us with a warning, which I now paraphrase:

“Welcome to Philosophy 101. If you’ve chosen the university experience as a means of compiling a perfect 4.0 GPA, then I recommend you drop this class and choose another, because I do not award perfect scores. There is no such thing as perfection, and if you disagree with me, be prepared to argue your case logically. It won’t matter, because you’ll still not receive an A for this class. Would anyone like to discuss the nature of perfection?”

Does money mean what we think it does?

Neoliberalism has tricked us into believing a fairytale about where money comes from, by Mary Mellor (The Conversation)

There is nothing natural about money. There is no link to some scarce essential form of money that sets a limit to its creation. It can be composed of base metal, paper or electronic data – none of which is in short supply. Similarly – despite what you may have heard about the need for austerity and a lack of certain cash-generating trees – there is no “natural” level of public expenditure. The size and reach of the public sector is a matter of political choice.

Which puts austerity, the culling of expenditure in the public economy, under some question. For some countries, such as Greece, the impact of austerity has been devastating. Austerity policies still persist despite numerous studies arguing that they were entirely misconceived, based on political choice rather than economic logic. But the economic case for austerity is equally mistaken: it is based on what can best be described as fairytale economics ...

Bread, circuses and hard facts: "3 Billionaires Really Do Have More Wealth Than Half of America."

Part of it has to do with the "right" to 24/7/365 entertainment and dollar menus.

"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metonymic phrase critiquing superficial appeasement. It is attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD — and is used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts.

In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace — by offering a palliative: for example food (bread) or entertainment (circuses).

Juvenal, who originated the phrase, used it to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase implies a population's erosion or ignorance of civic duty as a priority.

Another part references the inability of a hamster to make sense of his confines while yoked to the wheel.

Then there's the capacity for humans to embrace self-delusion; historically this trait is best illustrated by religious belief. Our reward won't come HERE, but THERE, up in the sky.

Pitchforks, anyone?

Bernie Sanders Is Right: 3 Billionaires Really Do Have More Wealth Than Half of America, by Chuck Collins (Common Dreams)

And in addition to the 3 billionaires Bernie mentioned, we should also be worried about the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties

The wealthiest 3 billionaires in the U.S. – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined.

Those were the first words spoken at last week’s 2020 Democratic Debate, citing a wealth inequality study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

In fact, Sen. Bernie Sanders mentioned the study, Billionaire Bonanza, several times during the debate.

Fact checkers at The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN verified Sen. Sanders’ claims.

These extreme levels of wealth inequality are possible, in part, because the bottom fifth of U.S. households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Shoulda had cooking school: "In Youngstown, an American city loses its only daily newspaper — and it won’t be the last."

Apart from the newspaper angle, there's a graph herein showing that Youngstown, Ohio's population hovered around 168,000 from the 1930s through the 1960s. Now it's 68,000 -- although the metropolitan area is around a half-million. That's stunning.

Don't ask me what it means for us, with the Jeffersonville News and Tribune increasingly functioning as a for-pay political propaganda disseminator. But the fact is that New Albany and Floyd County currently don't have a functional newspaper. Sorry if that hurts, but it's true.

In Youngstown, an American city loses its only daily newspaper — and it won’t be the last, by Joshua Benton (NiemanLab)

That a local daily was having trouble making money isn’t news. But that the national chains weren’t willing to buy it on the cheap is.

A declining newspaper is better than no newspaper. A rundown newspaper is better than no newspaper. A bad newspaper is better than no newspaper.

Some people will disagree with me there. There are those in the local digital news world who argue that it’ll take the final shutdown of a city’s daily to trigger the changes that can make vibrant local online news workable — and, by extension, that any help given to those declining dailies is just postponing that glorious transition. Maybe. But my strong suspicion is that, whenever a local newspaper closes, whatever evolves next is unlikely to replace whatever journalistic firepower has been lost.

Apparently, we’ll soon get a chance to find out ...

Friday, June 28, 2019

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Mexican beer versus craft-brewed, Mexican-style beer.

Back in the day when beer judging actually mattered to me, I was fond of saying that if one were to take Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and other aggregations of beer style definitions at face value, the most accurate and clever of the definitions thus far devised would be the ones describing Miller Lite and its emasculated ilk.

These definitions invariably were written as a litany of comical negations -- this beer sample submitted for judging can't have any evidence of malt and mustn't have hop character ... best examples are clean, crisp, odorless and entirely without flavor.

In short, all but the faintest traces of those qualities separating beer from carbonated water were to be removed almost entirely for the beer in question to be representative of style -- with the margin for error always tilted toward fizzy wateriness.

This brings me to Mexican lagers, and before wading into the trend nouveau swamp, allow me to issue a reasonably honest disclaimer, in that I've waited a very long time to dip a quivering toe into this topic.

First it was necessary for me to complete my beer snob rehabilitation course. I'll never be fully recovered, but I'm much better now. I remain determined to avoid liquid atrocities like Bud Light touching my lips, and yet there is peace in my tattered soul; if you want to subject yourself to the senselessness, it's fine and dandy with me. Go right ahead and urinate a lot.

Live and let drink swill, I say, and no longer do I have any compelling interest in explaining the error of your ways -- well, except today, as insinuated by the words I'm writing.

(My therapist kinda/sorta approves the preceding message.) 

For most of my adult life, the preceding antipathy to flavorless beer has applied as much to standard golden Mexican lagers as low-calorie American marketing exercises. There's a caveat, however. Dos Equis (the Amber version) and Negra Modelo are different.

While not exuberantly flavorful, there's enough Vienna or Munich malt in them to make the game worth the flame, especially with Mexican food -- although Negra Modelo's claim to be a Munich Dunkel seems contrived to me.

As it pertains to all those golden-colored Mexican lagers, it can't really be asserted that they have much to do with Vienna anything; it's more about corn and faint hints of grain and hops, eternally touted on the basis on thirst-quenching capability.

Again: fine. Have at them and exercise your kidneys. What I find exceedingly curious about all of this is the (fairly) new wave of craft-brewed, Mexican-style lagers.

(Further reading: What makes a Mexican-style lager?)

It puzzles me because of a very simple distinction: If a craft brewery succeeds in mimicking a Mexican golden lager, then it has produced a flavorless beer which usually will cost 25% more than the genuine article.

And, if the objective is replicating Negra Modelo -- as Daredevil in Indianapolis has done quite tastily, the price differential might be closer to 30% more.

It isn't my aim to stomp on creative exuberance, just to point out that mass market economies of scale are neither friendly nor available to craft brewers who conjure flavorlessness rather than flavor. Speaking only for myself, I'd just as soon pay less for the beer from Mexican -- you can do as you please with no riposte from me.   


As a postscript, something not about Mexico at all.

Festivals: 10 of the UK’s most scenic beer festivals, by Tony Naylor

Beer and beauty combine at these brews with a view events at both rural and city locations across the country

Bernie Sanders on Donald Trump's "saber rattling" over Iran.

Bernie Sanders was on Face the Nation last Sunday.

Bernie Sanders Is Exactly Right About Trump’s Saber Rattling on Iran
, by John Nichols (The Nation)

In a remarkable exchange, the senator rejects the notion that a “limited strike” on Iran is anything less than “an act of warfare” that could lead to catastrophe.

The topic of the aborted air strike against Iran was raised.

Oh, just a limited strike; oh, well, I’m sorry. I just didn’t know that it’s okay to simply attack another country with bombs. ‘Just a limited strike’—that’s an act of warfare. So two points. That will set off a conflagration all over the Middle East… The war in Iraq, Margaret was a disaster I believe from the bottom of my heart that (a war) with Iran would be even worse, more loss of life never ending war in that region, massive instability. We’re talking about, we have been in Afghanistan now for eighteen years. This thing will never end. So I will do everything I can number one to stop a war with Iran. And number two here’s an important point. Let’s remember what we learned in civics when we were kids. It is the United States Congress, under our Constitution, that has warmaking authority not the president of the United States. If he attacks Iran in my view that would be unconstitutional.

At greater length:

Sanders discusses the subject at considerably more length in an important new article for Foreign Affairs—“Ending America’s Endless War”—in which he argues, “Terrorism is a very real threat, which requires robust diplomatic efforts, intelligence cooperation with allies and partners, and yes, sometimes military action. But as an organizing framework, the global war on terror has been a disaster for our country. Orienting U.S. national-security strategy around terrorism essentially allowed a few thousand violent extremists to dictate the foreign policy of the most powerful nation on earth. We responded to terrorists by giving them exactly what they wanted.” The article concludes:

The American people don’t want endless war. Neither do we want a foreign policy that is based on the logic that led to those wars and corroded our democracy: a logic that privileges military tools over diplomatic ones, aggressive unilateralism over multilateral engagement, and acquiescence to our undemocratic partners over the pursuit of core interests alongside democratic allies who truly share our values. We have to view the terrorism threat through the proper scope, rather than allowing it to dominate our view of the world. The time has come to envision a new form of American engagement: one in which the United States leads not in war-making but in bringing people together to find shared solutions to our shared concerns. American power should be measured not by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to build on our common humanity, harnessing our technology and enormous wealth to create a better life for all people.

For the bottom line, however, go back to the video, where Sanders rejects the empty language of political and media elites and clearly explains that “The United States does not want to continue to lose men and women and trillions of dollars in never-ending wars in the Middle East.”

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Egg on City Hall's face yet again as fly-by-night rasslers exchange body fluids in Vinod Gupta's building.

The Jeffersonville newspaper's Thomas does good work on a strange topic. First the rasslin', then the recitation of Team Gahan failure.

Floyd County health official seeks ban on wrestling events, by Jason Thomas

New Albany officials say a wrestling event that took place at 1445 South St. on Sunday was not permissible under the city's zoning ordinances.

NEW ALBANY — A Southern Indiana health official is working to ban amateur wrestling events after a New Albany bout possibly left attendees and participants exposed to potential disease.

The Floyd County Health Department on Thursday issued a news release that urged people who attended Sunday's "Welcome to the Wreckroom" wrestling event on South Street and were exposed to blood or bodily fluids to be tested for possible exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C.

According to Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris, the alert was triggered after his department received a complaint by someone who attended the event at 1445 South St.

It's a far cry from folding metal chairs.

At issue is props that were apparently used during Sunday's event — fliers for Sunday's event billed it as "live extreme wrestling" — which involved broken fluorescent lights, according to Harris. Injuries suffered from broken glass can result in large wounds, increasing the chance for transmission of disease. The more people involved, such as wrestlers rolling around on a mat, and you have a "perfect storm" to transmit disease, Harris said.

"That's a lot of different blood sources there, and no attempt to clean the blood off," Harris said. "It's a risk for all concerned."

Another of Harris's concerns is that entities typically have "some form of crowd control, some form or process for a person to give consent to participate in an activity," Harris said. "Nothing we've seen there was anything like that going on. It's a huge risk for transmission of disease."

Here's the fun part. Who owns the building in question?

It's none other than Vinod Gupta, who owns hundreds, maybe thousands of properties all across the country. How do we know about him?

Coming soon: The Gupta Vincennes Revitalization Project, built to Caesar-surface glam standards.

Meanwhile, Vinod Gupta, who lives in Florida, made out like a bandit, tripling his money for six years of do-nothingness. Gupta owns 45 properties in Floyd County, and no doubt hopes the likes of Bob Caesar convinces the city to overpay him for those, too -- I mean, we simply must make the squalor LOOK better, mustn't we?

Gupta bought low and sold HIGH when then-redevelopment honcho David Duggins came calling in 2016, as the city was in the process of overpaying for properties now cleared and tidied for Gahan campaign donor Progressive Land to convert into shoebox micro-apartments at Lancaster Lofts (as always, named for what was bulldozed to make room for new balsa construction).

But there's even more merriment.

The city completely snoozed on Welcome to the Wreckroom, but earlier in the year Gahan's minions were busy harassing Donnie Blevins, whose City Boys sanitation company at the time was using the lot adjacent to Gupta's House of Fluorescent Pain to park his trucks.

"Too much noise," said the same conniving city officials who conspired to push Blevins out of the Street Department, and haven't ceases being petty with the former councilman ever since for purely political reasons, as I explored earlier this year.

ON THE AVENUES: Donnie Blevins tells his story.

Six weeks ago Blevins received another certified letter from the same city functionary, this time citing a vague complaint from an unnamed neighbor about truck noise in the morning, and ordering NA City Boys to cease and desist. There’s a machine shop opposite Blevins’ commercial property, with other industrial users nearby.

There’s also a church where a chief political ally of Gahan’s preaches.

Oops, forgot; Tony "NAHA Adjutant" Toran's church is right across the street.

So there's a health emergency in a rotting building and City Hall is clueless, but if Blevins stick a key in the ignition of a garbage truck just a few steps away, ordinance enforcement is there in seconds.

You know, in New Albany it's really hard to tell where the incompetence ends and the corruption begins.

ON THE AVENUES: Mourning (and alcohol) in America, circa 1984.

(On the Avenues has moved back to Thursdays)

If not for Ollie North’s illegally financed Nicaraguan "contra" rebels, U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky” would not have been written, though there'd have been so many other chances during the decades to come. 

From 2009 through early 2011, I wrote weekly columns for the pre-merger New Albany Tribune. This one was published in the newspaper on October 28, 2010, and for the first time at the blog on February 18, 2016A few topical modifications have been made.


On Election Day in 1984, I was unexpectedly late for work. To this very day, I blame it on the zeitgeist.

It was Tuesday, November 6, 1984. The anti-climactic culmination of a profoundly unbalanced presidential campaign wasn't so much the re-election of the former actor Ronald Reagan. It was a re-enthronement.

Indeed, in my contrarian, left-leaning lifetime, conservatives never have seemed as smugly insufferable, or liberals more depressingly disenfranchised, than at that precise juncture.

Granted, living on the border between Indiana (former governor Mike Pence) and Kentucky (current governor Matt Bevin) in the year 2019 can make life feel like déjà vu all over again, although now we have the inner satisfaction of knowing that demographics are at long last on our side.

In 1984, doomed Democratic challenger Walter Mondale had a few bright moments early in the campaign, much like when the Hazard County Dulcimer Institute sinks a basket or two after the opening tip before succumbing 130-25 to the University of Kentucky in a preseason roundball tune-up.

Alas, although “where’s the beef” was an entertaining sound bite, and despite signs of Reagan’s unfortunate descent into dementia occurring at regular intervals on the coronation trail, Mondale was no Chaminade waiting in ambush.

When the singer Stephen Stills performed during a Mondale appearance on the steps of Louisville’s City Hall just prior to Election Day, he strummed a medley of 1960’s protest songs and spoke of a “surprise” in the offing. The “surprise” turned out to be how very close Mondale actually came to losing his own home state of Minnesota, along with the other 49.

It was one of those years – strike that; it was one of those decades.

Whenever I was in my cups, that comfortably numb region conducive for enduring brain-dead patriotic platitudes and acute disgust with condescending Falwellian theocrats, and while toiling multiple jobs to accumulate enough money to travel somewhere in the world more civilized, I’d grimace, stare balefully at the date, and rationalize: Just four more years.

I’d be only 28 when Raygun performed his long overdue curtain call, except there was the perpetual fear that he would decide to install a chest-thumping, flag-waving, trickle-down dictatorship. In such a case, known heretics like me might have to consider more hospitable climes.

Until then, there’d be hash marks on the wall, calendar sheets torn and wadded, and oceans of alcohol for solace.


Not coincidentally, alcohol was the reason why I turned up late to work on November 6. My gang’s preordained eulogies for the electoral right-wing landslide started at least three days earlier, over beer and brats; honestly, the re-elective problem drinking may have commenced as early as the New Hampshire primary.

Accordingly, on the evening of Monday, November 5, I attended a party in New Albany, where the guest of honor was a Missouri-born friend of a friend -- I’ll call her Lorna, not because I care to protect her identity, but because I can’t remember her real name.

She was an attractive, smart and formidable woman who fancied herself the second coming of Margaret Thatcher, and her periodic visits to town inevitably prompted vigorous ideological tussles so agitated that they verged on the erotic … not to posit opportunity, or anything as Hollywood-like.

Lorna was so far to the right that I habitually referred to her as the “St. Louis fascist,” and this verbal shorthand inaugurated a habit that has remained firmly embedded in my derisory repertoire to the present day, hence NABC’s “These Machines Kill Fascists” t-shirts, and occasional rhetorical embellishments like the substitution of “Peronists” and “Falangists,” better to send the Fascists scurrying to their dictionaries for edification.

From late afternoon beers, we quickly progressed to Bloody Marys, and as the evening wore on, the political discussion predictably escalated. Somewhere between the explication of a Marxist dialectic and my standard anti-Apartheid spiel, Lorna appointed herself bartender.

By the time I was advocating a war crimes trial for Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Lorna was mixing triples – just for me, not anyone else. This development was confided to me much later, but just then, all I felt was advancing intoxication, with a concurrent neglect of the clock ticking on the wall, for it was getting late … and 6:30 a.m. would come very early.

Drinkers accept that the fog of war is not restricted to the battlefield, and mercifully, I was driven home by a friend. Once there, the alarm may or may not have been set, although it is irrelevant, because I did not awaken until well past ten.

Charitably speaking, you could say I was suffering from a hangover. Uncharitably, you’d be giving me a breathalyzer to see if Lorna’s straight vodkas had yet been metabolized. Either way, one point was clear amid the painful haze: I was quite late.


At this juncture, I must confide to you the nature of my daytime job.

I was a substitute teacher.

My specific assignment that Election Day was to cover senior civics classes at Floyd Central. Luckily, first period was open, and so my own absence only truly began with second period, extending into third, with my panting, belated arrival coming just at the beginning of fourth.

Expecting to be caught dead to rights, I weaved directly to the classroom. To my jaw-dropping amazement, it transpired that not a soul had noticed me missing. My name was there on the morning attendance sheet, standing in for the regular faculty member ... alongside a hundred or more seniors officially excused for the day to “work” the polls, in a now passé custom that truly saved my bacon on November 6, 1984.

The handful of otherwise unexcused students straggling apathetically to civics class during second and third periods merely shrugged, took their proscribed turns with the hall pass, and behaved impeccably.

I was in the clear.

Reagan was duly re-elected, and the drinking continued. Somehow, we survived, and probably will next time, too, whether it's The Donald or one of several hundred Democrats seeing the job. Is it too late to be an expatriate?


Recent columns:

June 18: ON THE AVENUES: Let's lift our voices for another verse of "Talking Seventh Inning Blues."

May 28: ON THE AVENUES: Challenges are forever, but downtown New Albany's food and drink purveyors keep on keeping on.

May 21: ON THE AVENUES: "Pints&union, where the classic beer hits keep right on pouring."

May 14: ON THE AVENUES: Where do we go from here?

ASK THE BORED: BOW says it might do what it said it couldn't, but only after a Gahan campaign donor gets a fat no-bid contract for another $85k "study."

They've dragged their feet for YEARS on the request of businesses and residents to just INSTALL A 4-WAY STOP at the intersection of Main and Pearl.

But no. Nothing simple can occur without ANOTHER $85,000 "study" conducted by ANOTHER of Jeff Gahan's campaign contributors -- and if the pre-determined outcome is delivered, there'll be ANOTHER fat contract for the same amount or more to ANOTHER donor, when all we really need to do is plant stop signs, slow drivers and help them negotiate passage safely.

Susan Duncan doesn't agree with the verdict of our own two eyes, but corrupt is corrupt.


The city should know later this year whether a stop light is warranted at the intersection of Bank and Main streets.

Many business owners in the area have asked the city about placing a light at the intersection saying it poses a danger to both drivers and pedestrians. The city has hired Lochmueller Group to determine if a light is needed.

City engineer Larry Summers said with the new city hall and other proposed development coming to the area, he thinks a light will be warranted. The contract for the study is not to exceed $85,000.

However, the headline writer at NooBune gets it right, capturing the abject futility of a city unwilling, unable (actually both) to reign in fireworks, short of begging the citizenry not to set shit on fire.

Residents asked to use 'common sense' with fireworks, by CM

New Albany follows state law

NEW ALBANY — It's almost July 4 which means it's time for fireworks. And whether you love them or wish they were banned, they do generate plenty of discussion.

New Albany follows state law which means fireworks can be shot off starting now. People are supposed to shoot them off on private property and have safety measures in place in case something happens.

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey told the Board of Public Works & Safety on Tuesday that people need to use "common sense" if they plan to use fireworks.

"People need to slow down and take a step back if they plan on using fireworks," he said.

Local fireworks vendors are open now through July 6 when their permits run out.

"I am already getting calls," Board of Works President Warren Nash said. "Everyone needs to be mindful of the dangers."

David Hall, director of the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter, said July 5 is the busiest day for shelters across the United States for people looking for lost pets who run off after being spooked by fireworks.

"It's very stressful [for the pets]," he said.

He said some shelters across the country have people on staff who stay late into the night on July 4 to calm the animals due to all the noises.

This hypothetical Louisville rail map is "so close to civilization it’s making people uncomfortable."

If you've ever visited places where this map is reality, as opposed to conjecture, and returned home without a change of perspective -- well, human beings possess a remarkable capability for self-delusion.

FEATURE, THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION: Imagining a future transit system in Louisville, by Luis Huber-Calvo (LEO Weekly)

This is a part of a package of articles on the future of transportation in Louisville. For more, click here.

This vision for Louisville’s transit future is inspired in part by the streetcar lines that once defined our transportation system. This hypothetical and highly ambitious rail map does not try to reinvent our city. Instead, it strengthens what already works and fills in the transit gap for what could work better.

This vision reimagines our corridors as multimodal arteries that connect our neighborhoods with each other and with our downtown core. This is not a new idea: It’s how much of the city operated in its formative years. Louisville’s transit future could thus end up looking similar to its transit past. Much of our city was built with the streetcar in mind — many of the corridors and neighborhoods in the old urban boundary are suited for this type of transportation. A quick browsing of the map will show that Main Street, Market Street, Broadway, Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue are essential to the system’s connectivity. The vision is simple: Imagine a future in which traveling from Shawnee Park to the Mall St. Matthews is practical and convenient without an automobile. Imagine a future where you can go about your daily life without ever having to jump into a car ...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Hilter Skilter: Here's the sum total of Facebook's non-explanation for censoring me last week.

It was Gwobbels whodunnit: Greetings from Facebook gaol, where I'm serving a sentence for being historically accurate.

Exactly how did my mention of the propaganda minister's family name violate Facebook's exceedingly vague "community standards"?

Cuz Big Brother Zuckerberg says so. In the absence of human contact, that's the best explanation I can find.

This article from March from Forbes goes further toward explaining why the mere mention of Goebbels merited intervention than anything Facebook has said to me, or intends to say.

Last month, a Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered that "despite promises of greater oversight... Facebook has continued to allow advertisers to target hundreds of thousands of users the social media firm believes are curious about topics such as 'Joseph Goebbels', 'Josef Mengele', 'Heinrich Himmler', the neo-nazi punk band Skrewdriver and Benito Mussolini’s long-defunct National Fascist Party."

Whatever. I'm a socialist, not a fascist, and I'm unrepentant. A big lie's still a big lie, eh? And when Jeff Gahan claims to be a street safety savior and Jeff Speck agrees, then that's a great big lie even by Gwobbles's standards.

Redevelopment commission member appointed by the mayor plans epic Tour de Groveling Homage for the Gahan River Greenway.

Satire alert: This isn't.

Does anyone know the minimum donation to the Gahan re-enthronement campaign required to secure the no-bid contract for the Kool-Aid and Loaded Rice Krispies Treats concession to supply the sags during this bicycle ride?

Of course the 5K Run to benefit the animal shelter is a fine idea and worthy of our support. But we can do without the obsequious fealty, can't we?

Bourdain Day at Pints&union "brought awareness to issues of mental health and suicide prevention."

Credit Joe, Cassie, Calvin and the rest of the crew at Pints&union for an informative and well-attended Bourdain Day program.

"Bourdain was simply a journalist. And journalists can’t recognize him because they can’t recognize what real journalism is anymore."

"How suicide prevention is becoming part of Anthony Bourdain's legacy."

Given the nuances of the topic, and this being the first such remembrance since Bourdain's death last year, striking a proper balance was a challenge. They got it right, and kudos are merited.

Pints & Union remembers Anthony Bourdain, discusses suicide prevention, by Brooke McAfee (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — Pints & Union owner Joe Phillips is among the many people who view Anthony Bourdain as a hero.

So on "Bourdain Day," he wanted to commemorate the late chef/writer/TV host's life in a meaningful way. Community members raised their glasses Tuesday to Bourdain at the New Albany pub and brought awareness to issues of mental health and suicide prevention.

Tuesday, June 25 would have been Bourdain's 63rd birthday, and it has been more than a year since he died by suicide on June 8, 2018. Several weeks ago, chefs José Andrés and Eric Ripert recognized their friend by proclaiming his birthday "Bourdain Day" ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Engorged with boilerplate, the AdamBot whines: My power would come to a "screeching halt" without TIF.

"(Commission member Scott) Stewart previously said the city could release a portion of the increase in assessed valuation, instead of capturing all the incremental increases, to other taxing units which would free up money for schools and public safety."

But how would that benefit Dickey's DemoDisneyDixiecrats?

New Albany Redevelopment Commission director says TIF districts healthy, by Chris Morris (Hanson's Trolley)

NEW ALBANY — The seven New Albany Tax Increment Financing districts are healthy.

That was Josh Staten's message to the New Albany Redevelopment Commission following a presentation Tuesday. Staten, the redevelopment director, discussed projects planned and financial obligations for each district and projections for 2020-21.

Jan Morris and Trieste, but mostly Jan Morris.

The home library has not been harnessed to Melvil Dewey's decimal system. Books are shelved in approximate locations, but we've run out of shelving again, and as the unhandiest of men it might be a while before I create more.

But I found what I was looking for: Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, by Jan Morris.

I was quite sure Morris was dead, but not so. She's fascinating in her own right, as this April, 2019 piece illustrates.

The Many Lives of Jan Morris, by Sarah Lyall (New York Times)

It wasn’t until her latest book, “In My Mind’s Eye,” was serialized on BBC that many of her neighbors realized there was a celebrity in their midst.

CRICCIETH, Wales — Everyone here seems to know Jan Morris, even the waitress at the local fish restaurant. “Have you met Jan before?” she asks as Morris materializes from what, due to a trick of the light, looks to be the ocean itself, clouds of white hair wafting and fluffing around her face.

Morris is 92 and walks carefully, with the help of a cane. She has lived in this corner of North Wales — a 3-plus hour train ride from London, and then another 45 minutes by car — for most of her life. In Britain, she is a renowned and beloved essayist, historian, journalist and chronicler of places, the author of more than four dozen books, but it wasn’t until her latest work, “In My Mind’s Eye,” was serialized on BBC radio last fall that many of her neighbors realized there was a celebrity in their midst.

Morris has lived many lives, and it is impossible to separate who she is now from who she was before: James Humphrey Morris, who was born in 1926 in Somerset, England, and whose education and career were typical of privileged Englishmen at the time.

Morris was a choral scholar at Christ Church, Oxford; served in the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers during the waning years of World War II; and at age 23, met and married Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a tea planter. They raised four children together (a fifth died in infancy).

There have been plot twists.

The biggest constant in her life has been Elizabeth, who was first her wife and then her ex-wife — same-sex marriage was illegal in Britain in 1972 — and is now her legal civil partner, her closest companion for more than 70 years. The couple settled here in Wales; Elizabeth mostly stayed home and Morris lived a peripatetic existence, traveling and writing and then traveling again.

What an incredible love story!

Morris’s deep love of Elizabeth, her lifelong companion, has run like a golden thread through the conversation. When they first met, they so delighted in each other’s company that when Elizabeth took the bus to work, Morris would ride with her so the two could keep talking.

But now Elizabeth is suffering from dementia, what Morris calls “that subtle demon of our time,” and it is a difficult time for a couple who have always shared everything. Morris prefers not to dwell on it, but it is clear that weighs heavily.

"Bourdain was simply a journalist. And journalists can’t recognize him because they can’t recognize what real journalism is anymore."

"How suicide prevention is becoming
part of Anthony Bourdain's legacy."

So much to learn.

His politics bubble up in Kitchen Confidential when he tells aspiring chefs to learn Spanish, to learn “the distinct cultures, histories and geographies of Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic,” to eat their food, and to show respect. Years later, he confronted Americans with their hypocrisy for depending on Mexican workers and loving Mexican food, Mexican beverages, “Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films,” but not Mexico itself.

So little time.

Anthony Bourdain (1956–2018), by Arun Gupta (Jacobin)

Anthony Bourdain’s genius was not in the kitchen. His genius was in knowing which side he was on.

Anthony Bourdain’s genius was not in the kitchen. His genius was in never mincing words and knowing which side he was on. Asked what he would serve at a summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Bourdain said, “Hemlock.” He told David Duke, “I’d be happy to rearrange your knee or other extremities.” After visiting Cambodia, Bourdain wrote of Henry Kissinger — “that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag” — “you’ll never stop wanting to beat [him] to death with your bare hands.”

Journalists are not supposed to talk like this, at least ones hoping to retain a coveted network show like Parts Unknown. That CNN series nabbed Bourdain four of his five Emmys, and the sixty-one-year-old chef and author was in France filming an episode for the twelfth season when he hung himself June 7.

The obituaries and reminiscences about Bourdain miss who he was. He was more than a celebrity chef, a Hunter S. Thompson of the kitchen, a roguish culinary adventurer, or part Epicurean, part everyman. Bourdain was simply a journalist. And journalists can’t recognize him because they can’t recognize what real journalism is anymore. Bourdain was a chronicler of societies, of cultures, of people, of stories, of emotions. Food was his reporter’s notepad and pen.

This is a fine segue for an encore.

Anthony Bourdain was right, and it's never too late to track down and prosecute war criminals like Henry Kissinger.

“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević. While Henry continues to nibble nori rolls and remaki at A-list parties, Cambodia, the neutral nation he secretly and illegally bombed, invaded, undermined, and then threw to the dogs, is still trying to raise itself up on its one remaining leg.”

― Anthony Bourdain, A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

ASK THE BORED: Can't City Hall just stop lying about 4-way-stop upgrades on Spring and Elm between Vincennes and downtown?

Last week at the Bored with Works meeting some rote cowardice broke out.

It's genuinely maddening.

Of course, City (Mike) Hall just finished an artful mini-propaganda blitz for dupe-worthy CNU27 attendees, insisting that Jeff Gahan's half-ass two-way street conversion has magically resolved all automotive-related safety issues.

They're lying, but after all, it's an election year.

Once again, when presented with safety concerns pertaining to traffic speeds from a neighborhood resident who witnesses the problem every single day, Gahan's compromised minions spout craven nonsense: the "manual" prohibits them from doing anything at all, except in those case when they decide to do something from motivations of politics, as opposed to safety.

The criteria for action? It's written on a fortune cookie hidden in Jeff Gahan's down-low bunker.

Accepting city engineer Larry Summers' slippery explanation (above) at face value, and recalling that he used the same well-greased explanation as a convenient excuse not to convert Elm & 13th into a 4-way stop -- right up until the morning it WAS converted, sans coherent explanation -- how can there be enough traffic to justify a 4-way at Elm and 13th, and at Elm and 10th, but not on Spring, one block over?

Are we to surmise that there is a flood of cross traffic between Spring and Oak, which never crosses Spring to get to Market and Main?

Why can't someone in Gahan's administration, ANYONE at this point -- conceding city officials are so thoroughly discredited that Gahan can pick a random janitor to deliver the message, or maybe hand it off to the who sells weenies out front of the City County Building in summer -- simply tell the truth about the street grid?

"We are car-centric to the core. None of us know what it means to walk or ride a bicycle, much less to navigate a wheelchair, but one thing we know for sure is that we're absolutely terrified to offend drivers. We'll continue to make meaningless gestures and co-opt "progressives" who are just as car-centric as us, and we'll talk a great game about our brilliance even as we ignore safety concerns and refuse to take substantive efforts to slow traffic."

That's Gahan's only "manual," isn't it?

Monday, June 24, 2019

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: "DO/LIVE/LOVE Brewing unveils plans for Butchertown facility, coming in 2020."

The people involved in this new brewing project are unknown to me; the co-founder Childress has a beer pedigree, in that he also was a co-founder of the Common Space brewery in Los Angeles.

Consequently I have absolutely no reason to doubt anything reported in this article about the forthcoming advent of DO/LIVE/LOVE Brewing, a multi-million dollar undertaking. 

Just this one thing, and an old adage about reality: Wanna make a million in the brewing business?

Then start with $10 million.

I wish them nothing but the best -- and wish I knew more rich people, although if I did, I'd be angling for a corner bar in Europe. A couple hundred thousand ought to do it.

Sigh. To each his or her own.

DO/LIVE/LOVE Brewing unveils plans for Butchertown facility, coming in 2020, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

DO/LIVE/LOVE Brewing unveiled its plans Wednesday for a 22,000-square-foot brewery complex in Butchertown that will bring with it a mission to benefit the neighborhood as well as brew good beer.

“We believe beer pairs perfectly with compassion,” said co-founder Dave Childress at a news conference in front of the future brewery. “We believe beer pairs perfectly with community. We believe beer pairs perfectly with positivity.”

DO/LIVE/LOVE brings with it a nonprofit arm that Childress said already has raised $450,000 in two years for various other nonprofits, such as military and veteran-focused organizations and charities focused on curing rare childhood diseases.

The cost to fully renovate the sprawling, 1950s-era former meat storage warehouse was set at $5.5 million, with a goal of opening next March, around the time the new Louisville City FC soccer stadium is slated to open.

Plans include an outdoor beer garden, a north-facing, second-floor balcony with views of the Ohio River and the stadium, and a rooftop deck with 360-degree views of the city. The brewery will incorporate multiple casual food options and is expected to employ at least 30 people once open. Construction already is underway.

The building itself is massive and broken up into large spaces. Some walls will be removed in the front part of the building to make way for patio seating. One part of the brewery complex will include a full kitchen with dining area, with a brewery and taproom taking up another section of the main floor.

The second floor will offer more taproom space, plus the deck. Private-use space also will be part of the brewery ...

Department of City-Owned Chicanery: Why did the city pay $300,000 for this (now) vacant lot at the corner of Culbertson and E. 5th?

Gone, but at a ridiculously inflated price.

The 502 Culbertson property facing Fairview Cemetery was purchased in 2017 for $350,000, two-and-a-half-times the price paid by the previous owner in 2011. It was a horribly maintained slumlord property recently boarded up. A few months ago the building was demolished and seeded, and now it's (yet another) vacant lot.

According to Elevate, the city of New Albany purchased the property in January for $300,000. There are derelict houses on all sides, and even the assessed value of a mere $47,800 seems too high -- so why has the city paid more than six times the assessed value to own it?

I'm intentionally withholding the name of the previous owner; let is suffice to say that he owns seemingly half of Southern Indiana.

Please forward to your council representative with a question: What sort of chicanery is taking place at 502 Culbertson?

(Thanks to B for the tip)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The narcissism of car-centrism, part 3: "How Lazy Coverage of Pedestrian Deaths Obscures Why Streets Are So Dangerous."

Paging Bill Hanson and Susan Duncan.

Apart from lazy coverage, I'm trying to remember the last time Louisville metro police and prosecutors took longer than ten grudging minutes to absolve drivers from blame when non-vehicular human beings have been killed by drivers.

It is exceedingly rare, isn't it?

Ever wonder why it's always the car that kills and not the person piloting it?

How Lazy Coverage of Pedestrian Deaths Obscures Why Streets Are So Dangerous, by Angie Schmitt (Streetsblog)

When a driver kills someone on foot, is it an act of God, beyond anyone’s power to prevent? Or is it the result of a broken system in desperate need of reform?

To read the coverage of the May 31 killing of 80-year-old Arnulfo Salazar in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’d think it was a random, unpreventable tragedy. Or that Salazar could have saved himself if only he’d been more careful. The stories don’t convey any sense that Salazar was failed by a hostile and unforgiving system.

Let's skip to the conclusion.

One thing that’s certain, however, is that journalists should be more skeptical of police accounts of pedestrian deaths.

Far too often, police rely exclusively on the testimony of the driver — the victim can no longer tell his or her story. And when the only version of events that gets reported is a story that absolves the driver while blaming the victim, the public discussion of street design and driver behavior won’t even mention possibilities for reform. And that means more people will lose their lives.

The narcissism of car-centrism, part 2: "Why U.S. pedestrian deaths are at their highest level in almost 30 years."

It's actually possible to reduce the narcissism of car-centrism: "Unlike the U.S., the E.U. has found ways to redesign vehicles and roads to reduce pedestrian deaths."

Just not in America, evidently.

Why U.S. pedestrian deaths are at their highest level in almost 30 years (PBS)

U.S. pedestrian deaths are at their highest level since 1990. Possible explanations include wider roads, sprawling cities, heavier traffic in residential areas due to navigation apps and increasing distractions from digital devices. And according to victims’ families and safety advocates, the problem is a crisis state and local governments have been slow to address. Arren Kimbel-Sannit reports.


The Hubanks apartment complex is half-a-mile away from the signal crosswalks on Central and Seventh avenues. That's a long way to walk for people who need to catch a bus to school or work.


National advocacy groups say deaths like Keshawn's are more common in low-income areas. It's evident in Southern California, where residents in underserved neighborhoods are waiting for safer streets.


The couple wants safer roads and safer drivers. They know changing laws and minds is a challenge. But it's not impossible. The European Union has seen a 36 percent decline in pedestrian deaths between 2007 and 2016. Experts say it's because, unlike the U.S., the E.U. has found ways to redesign vehicles and roads to reduce pedestrian deaths.

The narcissism of car-centrism, part 1: "Synchronizing Traffic Lights May Not Reduce Emissions."

The narcissism of car-centrism is like a narcotic. Once we get behind the wheel, it's all about our individual need for a fix -- and if you're not WITH drivers, you're AGAINST them.

Sorry, Los Angeles: Synchronizing Traffic Lights May Not Reduce Emissions, by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic)

What makes one car more efficient may not work when you apply it to a city.

For years, progressive urbanists and environmentalists have advocated for synchronized traffic lights. Syncing lights, theoretically, makes everyone's lives easier: They promote a sense of flow and easiness on the road, and they reduce pollution, because a car running smoothly runs cleaner than a car stopping-and-starting.

So, the need to sync traffic lights has become somewhat well-known. The Baltimore Sun's transportation reporter wrote in 2010 that the "most common source of complaints" he heard from readers was out-of-sync lights. In 2011, a libertarian think tank praised Georgia's effort to syncronize lights, citing statistics about reduced drive times and gasoline usage. And sometime this year, according to an LA Daily News report, Los Angeles will complete its three decade-long effort to syncronize traffic signals across the city.

Except synchronizing traffic lights may not actually work. Todd Litman, of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, writes in a recent post that efforts which increase flow, like signal-syncing or expanding-road-capacity, only theoretically reduce emissions:

[R]esearch suggests that at best these provide short-term reductions in energy use and emissions which are offset over the long-run due to Induced Travel. Field tests indicate that shifting from congested to uncongested traffic conditions significantly reduces pollution emissions, but traffic signal synchronization on congested roads provides little measurable benefit, and can increase emissions in some situations.

At CNU 27 in Louisville, visiting New Urbanists got a tasty dose of Gahan's Big Lies.

What Bluegill wrote.

But hey; don't mind us. We just live here, and experience the sycophantic spin-doctoring every single day.

There are two references to NewAlbany below, clearly attesting (a) to certain intentional gaps in the glorious Gahan narrative and (b) to the power of political patronage-driven propaganda.

Did Gahan buy ads in the CNU27 program to ensure there’d be only one (his) side of the story? If so, let's hope he didn't use taxpayer dollars to spit-shine his own gleaming scalp.

A Week of Love and Struggle, by Lisa Schamess (CNU)

At CNU 27.Louisville, New Urbanists got a little verklempt

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Riding the rails in Europe: "My return to Interrailing 30 years on."

1985, Greece.

I miss the clickety-clack, to be honest. Trains need to be trains, not airplanes.

Back on track: my return to Interrailing 30 years on (The Guardian)

Dixe Wills repeats his teenage Interrail odyssey, at a more leisurely pace this time, pausing to reflect on the unique opportunity the 31-country pass offers


Dixe Wills did it 30 years ago with an Interrail pass (European users only). My first experience came 34 years ago with a Eurailpass.

I'd do it again, tomorrow. Actually, I'd do it again tomorrow assuming I could afford a month or two in Europe riding trains while indulging my twin vices of beer and local cuisine.

Two days here, three there; a nice ride in between, with a picnic basket and adult beverages.

And the occasional museum.

The nostalgia is killing me.

New Orleans, the Mississippi River and lots and lots of water.

Photo credit.

By the way, it's raining again.

Hell Is High Water: When will the Mississippi River come for New Orleans? by Henry Grabar (Slate)

ARABI, Louisiana—The water is breaking gently around the hull of the crew boat Miss Emerson, as if she were puttering across a muddy lake. Instead she is tied at the dock of Port Ship Service, straining at her bowline as a supercharged Mississippi River rushes beneath. On the bank of a levee just over the parish line from New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, Capt. Charles Crawford is preparing to take control of the Valle Azzurra, a big ship coming down the river in a hurry. The Miss Emerson is a transport boat. She will pull alongside the Malta-flagged tanker, and Crawford will board the larger vessel as the ships run momentarily together. He will climb a ladder that hangs over the ship’s port side, whose paint is scraped from a recent trip through the Panama Canal. His assignment: steer the Valle Azzurra safely to Pilottown, where the river meets the sea.

“Where’s mine?” Crawford asks Timmy Lopez, the drawling, tattooed dispatcher, his eyes as blue as the river is brown.

“Coming up on Perry Street,” responds Lopez with a glance at a monitor, as if we were waiting for an Uber instead of a 200-foot ship carrying 10,000 gallons of God knows what around the bend at Algiers Point.

Crawford is a member of the Crescent River Port Pilots Association, a group of elite mariners who steer tankers, freighters, and cruise ships down the 106 treacherous miles between New Orleans and the Bird’s Foot, the Mississippi River’s branching delta. It is specialized terrain, the pilots say, and even an experienced captain would struggle with its eccentricities. Crawford has the demeanor of a Hollywood airplane pilot—tanned, pleasantly lined face, a full head of gray hair. He has been doing this job for 40 years, and this one will be his last. “I always said, ‘I think I’ve got another high river season,’ but this year I said, ‘No, no more,’ ” he says, passing me the association calendar, which he helps photograph and design. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of high rivers, but I’ve never seen a river this high, this long.”

No one has. The Friday that Crawford sat waiting to board the Valle Azzurra was Day 225 of high water in New Orleans, tying the longest stretch in recorded history, set in 1973. The next day—Saturday, June 8—the record broke, and there is no end in sight ...

Friday, June 21, 2019

LIVE TO EAT: There's nothing quite like German beer with German food, so get over to the Gasthaus and see what I mean.

I've spent the last few evenings looking at 30-year-old slides of Europe; prior to this, last December's photos in Munich and Bamberg were organized. Through it all, periods of thirst have been handled with the help of Wernesgruner, a pilsner brewed in eastern Germany near the Czech border, which we've been keeping around the house.

It occurs to me that even if dinner is pickled herring from the Baltic areas of Germany and not sauerbraten or sausages from Bavaria, German beer remains the default accompaniment to German food. Make the argument for wine if you will. I like my chances of finding the ideal beer.

In turn, this reminded me of a review I once wrote about Louisville's Gasthaus restaurant. I can't believe it's been eight years since I wrote about the Gasthaus; rest assured, we've eaten there numerous times since then, and will be indulging again next week.

Louisvillians are very lucky to have the Gasthaus, and I highly recommend it. Here's a repeat of the September, 2011 review.


Friday feast at Louisville's Gasthaus.

You have to love a place that kicks off its menu with a newspaper article on the importance of keeping children under control while dining out.

But Louisville's Gasthaus restaurant is much more than that, and has been bringing great German food to metro residents since 1993. In this second consecutive year of being unable to visit Europe, I've made do with memories, beers and meals in various locales, and as for the latter, Gasthaus ranks above both the Glarner Stube (Swiss/German; New Glarus WI) and Jasper, Indiana's Schnitzelbank in terms of authenticity and a purely Pavlovian ability to transport me to the continent, if only briefly.

The important detail missing from my photo of the Gasthaus's colossal Wiener Schnitzel a la Holstein are the anchovy fillets. Heavens! The sauerkraut was fully cooked, savory and worthy of entree status itself. You can see the strawberry torte. Aventinus Weizen Doppelbock is the star of a short but effective German bottled beer list.

Gasthaus is a splurge, and fully worth it: Two salads, two entrees, a side, two desserts and two drinks came to $125, including gratuity. Hours are short and reservations (for tables as well as desserts) recommended. The location on Brownsboro Road is easy to find, and adjacent to a well-stocked Party Mart package store.

Nick thinks the city needs a flag redesign. Roger says: Start with those colors.

Yes, I know; there shouldn't be words on the flag. What if it's a hash tag? Here's the official flag of New Albany.

At The Aggregate, Nick's on a flag jag.

New Albany’s Flag Needs a Redesign

So, without being an expert (but perhaps a casual flag critic), and only being someone who loves his community, and his community’s history, here is my rough draft of a version of New Albany’s flag which I think the community could rally around and be proud of.

Click through, read the entire essay and tell Nick what you think. The Aggregate is a relatively new source for local news. Reading Nick's piece, it seemed to me that I wrote something about the city's flag fairly early in NA Confidential's run.

Sure enough, here it is -- from November 20, 2004.


Dissonance and New Albany's green and gold?

For those who may be curious about the description of the official New Albany flag, as described by B. several times previously, here's the way the official ordinance describes it:



A green background, symbolic of our green hills and of the many different kinds of trees native to our area and Indiana, on which the following are emblazoned: white shield edged in gold, symbolic of the character and courage of the varied nationalities of our ancestors, with a gold torch thereon, representing enlightenment and liberty; and the numerals “1813,” the year of the establishment of the City of New Albany, all within a semicircle of 19 gold stars, representing Indiana as the 19th state; and a gold pilot wheel in the lower right-hand corner, symbolic of our historic background as a river city.

(Res. R-62-7, passed 10-1-62)

All this bears more than a passing resemblance to the color scheme of Floyd Central High School, which is the Floyd County consolidated school and a bitter arch-rival of New Albany (city) High School, which has the colors of red and black.

The blame for this multi-hued anarchy surely must rest with Floyd Central, which came into existence five years after the resolution describing the city flag.

Ideally, none of this should matter one jot when it comes to reproducing the city flag as a symbol of our "Somehow Transform New Albany into Something Quasi-Weird" campaign.

However, we must remember that New Albany's unofficial city ethos (never codified, but tangible) is "Arrested Development," and this implies allegiances to high school that go far beyond the norm, particularly as they reflect high school basketball. 

Just ask Chris Morris of the New Albany Tribune.

A certain number of New Albanians probably won't accept the flag for this most petty and senseless of reasons. Do we attempt (reviving) it anyway?


Late note (June 24): a comment by reader Randy Smith.

That website isn't allowing comments on the post, although it explicitly asks, "What do you think?"

I think there's a significant amount of revisionist history being put forth, but I'm willing to be persuaded I'm wrong. TO say that New Albanians were "ardent abolitionists" is the most objectionable. This region is also well known for it's "Copperhead" tendencies. I've never heard about New Albany being an abolitionist stronghold.

Incorporating the "Town Clock Church" into a municipal flag is not something I'd be happy with. I frankly question whether it is iconic. It exists and is appreciated by some, but it has nothing to do with the founding of the city and it barely represents any long-term aspect of the city's history. The inclusion of a piece of sectarian imagery is also inappropriate.

I will concede that New Albany has a slight Irish connection. The divisions in the Catholic church and the "riot" bear witness to that. But I would wager that NA had more Scots-Irish protestant residents when the Irish influx peaked. By the 1850s, if not sooner, the German influence was dominant.

It reminds me of a previous attempt to change a municipal icon. A local cop designed new patches for the police department and was compelled to include the fleur-de-lis. His rationale was a nod to New Albany's "rich" French heritage. There is no doubt that Louisville has a French Catholic heritage (Louis?) and Floyd County still has signs of its French-ness, but the only indications of a historic French influence in New Albany predates the city by decades. Yes, voyageurs encamped here. But French "settlement" was pretty much outside of the city and came much later.

Finally, if the clock were removed, Nick's proposed flag would make a decent 1970s rugby shirt. Beyond that, it leaves me cold. Analogizing to current affairs, if this sincere offering were one of the 24 Democratic candidates for president, Nick's would be the Tulsi Gabbard.